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Mother riding first Pan-Mass Challenge for daughter recovering from brain tumor

By Kate Merrill

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    BOSTON, Massachusetts (WBZ) — Nancy Hamilton fully admits, she is no cyclist. But this single mom is getting ready for the ride of her life. She’s nervous but determined to join the pack at the Pan-Mass Challenge this weekend.

“So on December 18th of this past year, my daughter had a stroke, with her friends going skiing, and after some testing, they found a golf ball-sized tumor in her brain,” Hamilton told WBZ-TV.

Her only child, 21-year-old Augusta, was diagnosed with a grade 2 glial tumor. In an instant, the University of Vermont student’s life turned upside down, while Hamilton’s just seemed to stop.

“I didn’t know what to do and when your daughter is diagnosed with something at a young age, at 21,” she said. “You are helpless and the wind gets knocked out of you.”

While Augusta focused on her recovery at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Hamilton knew she needed a focus for herself, beyond the hospital walls. So she decided to help the helpers at Dana-Farber, inspired by her daughter.

“I figured if she could do seven hours in surgery, I could manage a 100-mile bike ride,” said Hamilton.

Now this non-biker is biking a lot, hoping to give back to the place that is giving her daughter a second chance. But she’s learning the Pan-Mass Challenge and the mission she is on is helping her in ways she didn’t even think about.

“For me, it’s given me an opportunity to stay mindful and grounded,” Hamilton told WBZ. “It enables me to find space where I can be alone on the road and think about the things that I can do to be strong for her when she needs me.”

An outlet and a purpose and most importantly, some much needed peace.

“I feel so much stronger mentally and physically every time I get on my bike. And every time I get on my bike, I think about her.”

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